The World Bank has offered $16 million to the East African Community (EAC) to facilitate the integration of mobile payments in the five regional countries, an EAC official said on Friday.
Peter Kiguta the Director in charge of customs and trade at EAC told Business Times on the side lines of a Kigali meeting that attracted the national bank governors of the five EAC countries that the World Bank money will be used to forge a roadmap to harmonise mobile payment systems in the region and others.
According to the EAC secretariat the regions’ mobile phone population has grown to 58.3 million and the estimated EAC mobile money user base is at 19.5 million.
”The mobile money subscriber base therefore, greatly exceeds the number of bank branches within the EAC region estimated at 2,028, with about 3,065 ATMs and 8,775 POS terminals. Integration of mobile payments subsequently delivers a secure and efficient credit payment transfer system that has capacity of reaching 15 percent of the population of the EAC,” Kiguta said.
”The EAC member states have an appetite to aggressively pursue the payment systems integration to further economic integration. The exponential growth of mobile money is accepted as being as being the service of choice of a high proportion,” he added.
Louis Kasekende, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda stated that the regulatory framework for payment and settlement systems in all East African countries is still incomplete and fragmented.
”Innovations in payments are being introduced at an accelerating pace, but regulation is lagging. Regulatory gaps need to be closed to facilitate a safe and efficient system to facilitate cross border transactions,” Kasekende said.